UKGlobal Flying Fifteen National Championship – Day 4
All photos ©David Harding, http://www.sailingscenes.com
The winners won in emphatic style: Graham Vials and Chris Turner rattled off six successive bullets to stamp their authority over the rest of the 53-boat fleet at the British Flying Fifteen Nationals sailed from Parkstone Yacht Club, wrapping up the championship with a day to spare.
Among the other top boats, however, there was still plenty of scope for place-changing on the final day. To make life even more interesting, Tuesday brought a major change in conditions. Poole Bay turned off the wind, waves and sparkle and replaced them with a light, fickle breeze, predominantly black skies, flat water and showers.
Going into race 7, Greg Wells and Richard Rigg were lying 2nd overall. They held an eight-point lead over Ian Cadwallader and Dave Sweet, who in turn were three points clear of Richard Lovering and Matthew Alvarado in 4th. A further five points adrift in 5th, Alan Bax and Mark Darling were among those capable of moving up the leader-board should anyone ahead have a bad day.
In the event, all top five positions remained unchanged, but the conditions meant that nothing was certain until the line was crossed. There was so little wind before the scheduled 10:30 first start that PRO Bryan Drake delayed sending the boats out. Then a light westerly filled in allowing a start to be attempted, only for much of the fleet to jump the gun and force a general recall.
Over the next 90 minutes or so the wind came and went, clocking left and right and generally making life as difficult as could be. Another general recall and two abandoned starts later, racing finally got under way just after 1pm in a breeze that was still far from convincing.
Getting to grips with the situation straight away were Cadwallader and Sweet, rounding the windward mark with a comfortable lead. Behind them were Martin Lewis and Mike Riley, Crispin Read-Wilson with Steve Brown and then Wells/Rigg.
Choosing the right-hand side up the next beat of the windward/leeward course, Wells and Rigg closed in on the boats ahead, as did Mark and Ben Longstaff. On the second run the wind clocked so far to the left that it became more of a broad reach and the next beat would have been a one-leg lay had PRO Bryan Drake not moved the weather mark.
By now Cadwallader and Sweet had what proved to be an unassailable lead, but a faltering breeze down the final run led to more than the occasional anxious moment for some and to a few place changes as boats were rolled over by those behind. In the end, Team Longstaff just pipped Wells and Rigg by about half a boat-length, with Read-Wilson 4th and Andy McKee/Rich Jones 5th.
As if to say ‘that’s it’, the clouds then shed their load to give everyone a good soaking as they headed for home.
With boats packed away back at the club, it was time for the daily prize-giving, the major offering being a jib from Hyde. There were vouchers from P&B and Harken goody-bags too, as well as jackets from Hudson Wight for the overall winners, which Vials and Turner decided should go to the French team of Jean-Yves Renault and Jean-Yves Martens.
Other sponsors helping make the event possible were Dave Tabb’s Mar-Key group, Flying Fifteen builders Ovington, WebCollect, who managed the on-line entry, Poole Harbour Commissioners and, of course, the title sponsors, UKGlobal, who administer the class insurance scheme.
So that’s it for the nationals 2014 – a great success for a highly competitive class that’s in rude health and will certainly be returning to Parkstone in the not-too-distant future.
Top six positions overall
1 4004 Graham Vials/Chris Turner 1-1-1-1-1-1 6pts
2 4030 Greg Wells/Richard Rigg 2-(12)-2-2-8-2-3 19pts
3 4014 Ian Cadwallader/Dave Sweet 4-(9)-5-7-2-6-1 25pts
4 3955 Richard Lovering/Matthew Alvarado 5-2-4-3-11-11-(25) 36pts
5 3998 Alan Bax/Mark Darling 8-3-7-(19)-5-7-11 41pts
6 4005 Andy McKee/Rich Jones 12-10-(25)-8-4-3-5 42pts
(If, like me, you are having technical trouble viewing the full results table, then try checking on the Y&Y website by clicking here… Ed)